I think we have lost the war on drugs and so Marijuana is legal in some states and now it seems we have lost the war on Teenage Pregnancy (although I thought we were at an all time low?)
First we taught abstinence - that's a joke because hormones are real and the less developed brain of a teenager does not always have the capacity to redirect thoughts, feelings etc. - especially if there is little to no information or support at home. Do we really think "Philomena" or other youngs girls in her position, were tramps, sluts or unworthy young mothers. No, thankfully we have evolved into understanding that things happen and there are better ways to handle unwanted/unexpected pregnancy. I am an advocate of open adoption.
Then we taught Health Education which vaguely covered the body and how it works - menses, deodorant, counting days - this information to be combined with the Biology classes which also vaguely explained RNA - DNA - Mitosis and ... it was too boring even for The DNA Lady. I really didn't learn anything from cutting up a pregnant frog, other than the smell of formaldehyde made me sick, same goes for the baby piglet. I could have learned as much by a good book with pictures and diagrams. I did not need, nor want the hands on experience or the ridiculous girly giggles - I probably would have been happier spending time in an extra gym class (which by the way would have been healthier for a hormonal teenager. Now, I hear our educators have cut out gym time too - so we have a generation of obese pregnant teens - I'm ranting). I have heard stories of parents not even knowing their daughter was pregnant - she was just wearing baggy clothes. (Uniforms for all students, please)
Then we taught Sex Education, how to prevent pregnancy, how to prevent the spread of diseases and a map to the nearest Planned Parenthood clinic, if none of the above was absorbed by your hormonal teen or inquisitive pre-teen.
Now it seems we are just giving up and will instead be providing pregnant teens with TV shows and high school environments where being pregnant is acceptable and indeed funded (interpret encouraged because it will create jobs with benefits) by the US government. While there is no money to take care of our Veterans, we will take care of pregnant teenage girls. My goal and interest is always, put the right name of the father on the birth certificate so that this child has a foundation in life.
ACTUAL STATE OFFER FOR REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL FROM AGENCIES
Section I – General Information
The (blank) Department of Children and Families’ Family and
Community Partnerships (FCP) announces the availability of $390,000 in funding
in the form of (3) competitive grants funded by the US Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS), Office of Adolescent Health’s (OAH) Pregnancy
Assistance Fund (PAF) from August 1, 2013-July 31, 2017 to provide an
opportunity for a currently funded DCF funded School Based Youth Service
Program (SBYSP) in a high school setting to add the Parent Linking Program
(PLP) for the first time as a component of its school based services. The PLP
provides culturally competent services to enable expectant and parenting teens
to successfully meet their parenting, educational, vocational and healthcare
The goal of this Request for Proposal is to minimize/eliminate barriers expectant
and parenting teens face that jeopardize their ability to complete their education,
parent effectively and provide a safe and developmentally appropriate
environment for their child’s development. Babies having babies - nothing new here.
Used to be in some circles, social pressure may be enough to keep a girl from getting pregnant - no more!
The purpose of PLP is to provide intensive case management and referral
services (as needed) for expectant and parenting teens with an emphasis on
awareness of (awareness - too late) and linkages to prenatal care, parenting education and infant/child development.
How nice, send your daughter to school and they will feed her, educate her, and also take care of her if she gets pregnant. And with or without your permission, we will test your children for drugs. If I am a parent, I'm thinking - great I have no responsibility here. There is a message in this program, and in the minds of education workers - that we need this program because we have failed to educate and protect (yes protect) young girls from getting pregnant. I am not so sure this was part of the job description when a teacher was giving her Thesis or applying for the K - 12 teacher's position in her home town.
Here comes some controversy - I'm for a 5 year period of sterilization (barring no adverse side afffects and of course, voluntary) so that teens do not get pregnant and can at least finish/focus on high school. Why provide funds and education which just seems TO SHOUT - it is OK to get pregnant while you are still in High School - we will now take care of you. Nevermind the obstacles this will place on you in the future, or on your baby's future. And really, how many teenage boys are involved with their children? While I'm focusing on teenage girls - please don't infer that the boys and their families don't have a responsibility in this conflict.
Statistics indicate that 40% of babies born in the USA are born to single parents - that's fine if both mom and dad have a steady source of income and are emotionally and physically prepared to take care of a baby. Statistics also indicate that the younger a woman has a child, the more likely she is to depend on state aid - housing, food stamps, healthcare. What chances will her children really have if we start saying - OK - get pregnant in High School, we'll take care of you.
Happy Mother's Day, are you going to the Prom - will your dress fit? Happy Graduation - if you make it.